Shocking stories of young rough sleepers | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Shocking stories of young rough sleepers

August 13th, 2018

As the Government publishes its rough sleeping strategy, youth homelessness charity Depaul UK releases the heart-wrenching stories of 10 young rough sleepers – in their own words.

The harrowing accounts in Life on the Streets: Young People’s Experiences of Sleeping Rough highlight the terrible hardships that increasing numbers of young people sleeping rough in England endure every night, and the challenges they face in escaping homelessness.

Official statistics show that the number of young people sleeping rough in England increased by 28 percent in 2017.

Samantha was sleeping rough at the age of 14. She turned to drink and drugs and ended up in a mental health facility. John slept in the storeroom at work until a new boss sacked him, throwing him onto the street. He slept rough with his partner, who suffered a miscarriage while homeless.

Isobel was rough sleeping aged 16. She became pregnant on the streets and hooked on drugs. Chris was in a serious motorbike crash, lost his job and room and found himself sleeping rough again, while nursing his injuries.

Finn lived with his grandma but, when she died, was forced into sleeping rough. The then 16-year-old dropped out of school because he felt dirty and smelly. Paige was just 16 when she came home from college to find her stepdad had packed her bags and kicked her out of the house.

Depaul UK CEO Mike Thiedke said: “These excerpts of Depaul UK’s 10 full-length rough sleeping stories give just a glimpse of what happens to young people living on the streets. They serve to highlight the lack of a safety net for many young people across the country.

“Not only does sleeping rough take a very heavy toll on young people’s mental health and wellbeing, but it can also have a long-term impact on their education, work and mental health. If we needed further evidence, this report shows the damage that the housing crisis is doing to young people.”

He added: “Depaul UK welcomes the Government’s new rough sleeping strategy, but it is clear from our findings that more affordable accommodation urgently needs to be made available to young people and greater investment in emergency accommodation is required. While the cost of renting continues to increase, housing benefit has not matched this rise and is leaving young people with no choice but to sleep on the streets.”

Research in Depaul UK’s report found that, in the 40 local authorities with the highest number of 18-to-25-years-olds sleeping rough, government figures show 225 young people were sleeping rough on a single night across these areas, but only 57 private rented rooms were available to young, single people claiming housing benefit.

The report’s recommendations on how the Government can prevent youth homelessness and rough sleeping include investing in accredited emergency accommodation, such as Depaul UK’s Nightstop emergency accommodation network, increasing the level of housing benefit for young people to bring it in line with the real cost of renting, and working with more landlords to make affordable accommodation available to young people on low incomes.

To read the stories in full, download Life on the Streets: Young People’s Experiences of Sleeping Rough below:

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We do not share your information with any third parties. You can disable cookies in your browser but please note this may prevent some parts of our site from functioning correctly.